Growing up, my family went apple picking every fall, without fail. We went at the optimal time to pick Golden Delicious, our favorite variety. Despite the fact that there was an orchard in my hometown, we always drove about an hour north to a much larger orchard, where we picked bushels of apples before getting an afternoon snack of apple cider and doughnuts.
We picked bushels of apples, which were loaded into the minivan and taken home, where one bag was washed and put in the fridge and the rest were stored in the garage. One by one, each bag was brought upstairs and eaten, until they were all gone.
The apples were eaten individually of course, packed in lunches and eaten for after-school snacks. But the best thing to do with apples is to bake with them, and my mom always made the first apples of the season into apple crisp.
This sticker belongs on my car, although it hasn’t made it there yet. But my friend Rachel got it for me as a perfect birthday present, being that I’m a born and raised New Yorker living in North Carolina. I love that I feel like I belong on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. (Although yes, I’m more at home in the North. That may never change!)
Well, whether you like it or not, dear readers (assuming I have some), this post continues my Baked obsession.
My main desserts are cookies and cupcakes. For the most part, that’s just because those are my favorite things. But also, I stink at cutting things into pieces. It’s possible that I have never cut a straight line in my life, and certainly not with a knife.
Despite this minor flaw, I sometimes venture into other forms of dessert. The other day, I decided that I needed to make the famous Baked brownie. It’s a favorite of both America’s Test Kitchen and Oprah, so I figured there was a good chance it would be a favorite around here too.
Remember my obsession with Baked? Well, it’s ongoing. I take every opportunity to make something from one of their books! This cake, unlike the Devil’s Food Cake, is a complete Baked recipe!
So for my husband’s birthday, I told him he could pick any cake he wanted… from a Baked book. My husband and I have been married for one year and together for four, and I had never before made him a birthday cake! Every year, different circumstances have prevented this from happening. This year, I was determined to make something amazing, and that meant a Baked cake.
When I went on the dessert tour in NYC back in May, it was based out of Manhattan only. On that trip, the only Brooklyn dessert place we made it to was the Brooklyn Farmacy. Of course that was delicious, but I was also introduced to another Brooklyn bakery on that trip, although in writing only.
There are many reasons that Laura and I are friends, but of course one of which is that we both enjoy baking. While staying in her apartment, I was handed three dessert cookbooks and told to read them. Of course I obliged, and I immediately wanted those books for my very own. Fortunately, my wonderful in-laws gifted me all three for my birthday!
I am guilty of the sin of not having any pictures of these cookies. In my defense, my grandmother wouldn’t let anyone touch them.
I’ll back up a little. Recently, my mom and I went and spent a week with my grandmother (her mother) in Arizona. She has existed on no white flour, no sugar, no red meat and no dairy for at least a decade now. So of course, she wouldn’t touch most of what I make with a ten foot pole. So of course, I had to find a recipe that she would eat.
This is definitely the prettiest picture that a creation of mine has ever gotten, but for good reason! This cake is special.
Aunt Irma was my dad’s aunt, and this is her recipe. I don’t remember Aunt Irma herself ever making it, but my mom made it many times when I was a kid. She hasn’t made it in ages, and I had never made it. I believe it was my sister who randomly brought up this cake and asked me to make it. So I took the recipe from my mom, and I decided to do it.
When I saw this cake on Pinterest, I knew that I had to make it for my mother-in-law’s birthday. And I did! According to Pinterest, I pinned the recipe 41 weeks ago. My MIL’s birthday was less than two weeks ago.